Monday, January 4, 2010

Last day. Nha Trang, Vietnam.

I am currently waiting for the night bus to pick me up to take me away from Nha Trang and back to Ho Chi Minh. Ironically my last day here was one of my best. Check out from our guesthouse was at noon. I finished packing some time before Judy and went to the lobby to wait for her. The receptionist kindly offered free storage for our bags for the day. She came and sat beside me on the couch. I have noticed how touchy feely Vietnamese people are. I have had women, who are virtual strangers, rub my belly, rest their hand on my leg or in this case wedge in beside me on the couch. It is odd for me, a Canadian who is used to so much personal space. Then the receptionist decided to paint my nails pink. It was as if we were long time best friends enjoying the afternoon. In reality, she is the receptionist at my guesthouse and we don't speak the same language. I love the process of making connections with people despite the obvious language barrier. It was a really sweet moment.

Judy and I were then invited to join the owner and two of the staff for lunch. We sat on the floor in a back room and enjoyed fresh fish, beansprouts, tomato and cucumber slices with rice. The meal was followed by fresh pomelo and apple dipped in salt and chillies. Delicious! I absolutely love the culture of sharing food that I have experienced all over Asia. We spent about two hours with these women communicating in broken english and learning a few vietnamese words along the way.

After lunch it was definately time for the first coffee of the day. We have been making daily stops at a nearby restaurant to indulge in Vietnemese coffee and pho ga. The server knows our order now and didn't even offer us menus today. Yes, I am hopelessly hooked on Vietnemese coffee served with sweetened condensed milk over ice. Starbucks who? I will be bringing some vietnemese coffee presses home to replicate this fabulous drink.

We then decided to head to a salon to have our hair coloured. On the way to the salon we passed a shopkeeper whose baby was very fond of me the other day. She waved us over and we went to say hello. When we told her we were leaving tonight she gave us a group hug and a back pat.

My hair had become two-toned since my roots are quite grown in. The hairdresser did an excellent job and my hair is now one colour that matches my natural colour so I can grow it out long. I also visited this salon a few days earlier to have my armpits waxed. I was terrified but in the end found the process more comical than painful. Having three small women staring at my pits and speaking in Vietnemese was a distraction from the momentary pain of having my hair ripped out.

And now I'm off to Ho Chi Minh to spend a few days volunteering with a project that Maria's mom Kim has organized. Fundraising was done last fall back in Vancouver and I am honoured to be helping out on this end of the project as well. If you haven't had a chance to check out the great food and drinks at Chau Kitchen and Bar yet, please do. Here's the link

1 comment:

  1. Naomi...
    The Dalai Lama says to treat everyone like your brother or sister, this is compassion. For some reason in N. America we don't know how to do this anymore (or maybe we never did...). I was thinking the other day how weird it is that we all sit on the bus for an hour to school and no one looks at each other, no one talks, and half the people are hooked into their ipod or nintendo. I do it too...but I wish sometimes that our culture was like that of your receptionist at the hotel. Connections, family, friends, community...that is their life, that is how they survive. I too think it is beautiful...